Cal Falls Short Of No. 1 in Humbling Loss To Huskies

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The Cal men's basketball team was supposed to go up to Washington, get two wins against two of the conference's worst teams and head back to Berkeley one victory away from the all-important 20-win benchmark.

Instead, the Bears (18-6, 9-5 in the Pac-10) not only split their Northwest road trip following Saturday night's humbling 75-60 loss to Washington, but the team also blew a chance to share the Pac-10 lead.

Earlier Saturday, Arizona lost to USC, giving Oregon, USC, UCLA, Stanford and Cal an opportunity to move ahead of the Wildcats in the conference race. With the loss, the Bears are now one game behind the leaders, tied with UCLA, which lost a 69-68 nailbitter to Arizona State, for fourth place.

Cal really has no one to blame for its missed opportunity except itself.

The Bears had a rough night offensively and only shot 37.7 percent from the floor. Cal had several good looks throughout the night, but the team wasn't able to get its shots to fall.

Bears coach Ben Braun partially attributed Cal's loss to lack of

consistency and follow through.

"We had too many letups, too many missed opportunities," he said. "When we were up and had a chance to score, we missed opportunities to put the game away. We've got to be a lot tougher and much more consistent."

Joe Shipp led the Bears with 15 points despite posting a 5-of-13 performance from the field.

Ryan Forehan-Kelly finished second on the team with 12 points and Solomon Hughes was right behind with 11.

Shooting wasn't the only area where the Bears lacked efficiency. Cal only went 13-of-20 from the free-throw line, compared to the Huskies' 18-of-20 showing from the charity stripe, and the Bears were outrebounded by Washington 41-30.

Although the Bears aren't known for their ability to sink a three-pointer, Cal particularly struggled against Washington, hitting only one of the team's 12 attempts.

One area where the Bears did see significant success was in its defense of the Huskies' leading scorer, Doug Wrenn. Having led his team in its previous 11 outings, Wrenn was limited to just two free throws in the first half.

The sophomore didn't score a basket until there was 7:15 left in the game and finished the night with six points.

"We did a nice job on Wrenn," Braun said. "It's always risky when you focus your attention on a team's top player, because someone's going to get loose."

In Cal's case, C.J Massingale was the Washington player that got away. Massingale equaled his career high with 25 points after averaging only 4.7 points per game heading in to the contest. Curtis Allen and Grant Leep chipped in 12 points apiece to round out the Huskies' leading scorers.

Facing a 31-29 deficit heading into intermission, it was critical for the Bears to come out strong at the beginning of the second half. Instead, Massingale stole Cal's thunder and came out hot, scoring Washington's first seven points of the half.

Cal responded with a 12-0 run that put the team ahead 45-38 with a little less than 15 minutes left to play.

But with the Bears unable to close the deal, Washington regained the lead 53-51 on an Allen three-pointer and didn't relinquish its advantage for the remainder of the game.

Cal begins its final homestand of the season Thursday against the conference-leading Trojans. Saturday, the Bears host the Bruins in the final game of the 2001-02 campaign at Haas Pavilion.

Prior to the contest, Cal's three seniors-Forehan-Kelly, Hughes and Dennis Gates will be honored. Gates, who missed the last four games with a sprained wrist, is expected to return to action against USC.


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